Trial excavations were carried out at Be’erotayim (G-12/00; map ref. NIG 148260/522035; OIG 098260/022035) during the winter of 2000. The excavation, on behalf of the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University and funded by a grant from the American School for Prehistoric Research at Harvard University, was directed by B.A. Saidel and T. Erickson-Gini, assisted by L. Mazov and N. Shimshon Paran, as well as J. Rosenberg (surveying and drafting), Y. Vardi and S. Rosen (lithics), E. Maher (faunal remains) and H. Greenfield (cut marks).
Rogem Be’erotayim was identified by T. Erickson-Gini in the course of her archaeological survey of Nahal Be’erotayim (Israel Survey Map 156). This stone construction, with associated animal pens, is located on the top of a hill, overlooking a tributary of Nahal Be’erotayim (Fig. 1). Rogem Be’erotayim is oval shaped and its long axis is oriented northeast–southwest. The main portion of the site, excluding the animal pens measures c. 18 × 35 m; the basic excavation unit was a 2 × 2 m square.
The general stratigraphy is composed of three layers. The surface layer consists of reworked loess, superposing a layer of stone fall, which rests above a layer that comprised silty, ashy sediments on top of bedrock. All sediments from this ash layer were sieved through a 2–3 mm mesh.
A preliminary analysis of the fieldwork demonstrates that no artifacts were found in either the surface layer, or the layer of stone collapse underneath it. The finds in the ashy sediments were in secondary contexts. They included faunal remains, lithic artifacts, such as microlithic drills, and diagnostic pottery from Early Bronze Ib (Fig. 2:1) and Early Bronze IV/Middle Bronze I (Fig. 2:2) periods. In the Negev highlands, similar microlithic drills were revealed in Early Bronze Age contexts at the Camel Site and at Rekhes Nafha 396.
In conclusion, the artifacts evidence an occupation from EB IB and EB IV/MB I periods; the working hypothesis is that the architecture dates to the EB IV/ MB I period. However, further fieldwork is required to clarify the settlement history of the site.